Wednesday, July 12, 2006

There is something about homework

In a recent article on, there was an issue pertaining to something many people know and remember with some fondness, but more likely disdain: homework. As a teacher, I assign homework to my students differently. For instance, when it comes to my Juniors, I will assign a section or two of their book to read and answer some questions relevant to what is being taught or with what I might not have been able to cover in lectures. The idea of course behind this is that it will reinforce what they know, but also provide another view point on what was just discussed. Even now, I am thinking of new things for the kids to do as homework assignments, kind of like mini projects that will, in my opinion, be fun to do in addition to their regular assignments.

One assignment I am working on is to have the class broken down into groups and for two weeks, work on strategies for the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. They will be given with the pertinent information that they need to know and then let them strategize. It challenges their ability to look at worst case scenarios and also come up with new ideas.
When it comes to my Seniors, their homework is done a little differently. They are assigned the chapter to read, and I trust them to read it. When the tests roll around, if they don’t know it, then they are in trouble. As for homework, they are given a weekly reflection paper assignment. These assignments look at current events and also things that were discussed in class. The idea behind all of this is that it makes the students think critically and also work on their writing abilities.

The part of the article which gets under my skin is how there are those that think homework greatly affects kids and their development. They have too much work to do and are unable to enjoy being kids. In addition to this, we find ourselves know in a situation where it is THE PARENTS who are doing the work of the kids in order ot help alleviate their pressures.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this is there are people who are wanting to make lots of excuses for some very simple and common issues. For instance, a child’s primary responsibility while being in school is to be a student. It isn’t that hard of a concept to figure out. If the kid wants to go play a sport, that is fine. However, that sport should not interfere with their school work. If the students spends hours on end with the sport, and then has difficulties in their classes because they are up half the night doing school work, then something has to give.

When I was growing up, I came home and started my homework. I knew when I should finish, so I knew that I could not waste time. The article that I referenced to discusses how kids are given lots of homework as they get older and need parental help. A thought that comes to my mind is that as high school moves along and more homework is given, will the parent go to college and demand the professor not to give lots of work?

It is commonly stated that after your first day in class at college, you are already behind by a good three hundred pages. Part of homework is teaching kids responsibility. Another part of this is to teach them self reliance. If a student does not learn how to appropriately delegate time to different assignments will never get the right kind of training in being able to read a situation and figuring out how to handle it.

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